"The Hikayat Banjar", a seventeenth-century native court chronicle from Southeast Borneo, characterizes the irresistibility of natural resource wealth to outsiders as 'the banana tree at the gate'. Michael Dove employs this phrase as a root metaphor to frame the history of resource relations between the indigenous people of Borneo and the world system. In analyzing production and trade in forest products, pepper, and especially natural rubber, Dove shows that the involvement of Borneo's native peoples in commodity production for global markets is ancient and highly successful.
Dove demonstrates that processes of globalization began millennia ago and that they have been more diverse and less teleological than often thought. Dove's analysis replaces the image of the isolated tropical forest community that needs to be helped into the global system with the reality of communities that have been so successful and competitive that they have had to fight political elites to keep from being forced out.
Michael Dove is Margaret K. Musser Professor of Social Ecology, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Tropical Resources Institute at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Professor of Anthropology at Yale University; and Curator of Anthropology at the Yale Peabody Museum.